Introduction

The war chariots of kings in the ancient Chinese Dynasty of Shang rushed across their great land. Amongst the whinnying of warhorses that pulled them, they magnificently blazoned page after page in the brilliant history of these rulers. Shang craftsmen used precious bronze and turquoise to meticulously refine and decorate these noble chariots and steeds, also using their skills to show off the pomp and glory of the royal dynasty in state ceremonies. In addition, precious chariots and steeds were buried along with the royal tombs, serving to represent and protect the nobility of their occupants in the afterlife.

Most of these magnificent horses and chariots buried underground gradually disintegrated over the following centuries, but fortunately their remains surfaced again after three thousand years through excavations conducted by modern archaeologists. In April 1936, in the settlement of Hsiao-t’un (near An-yang city, in modern Honan province) two young archaeologists from the History and Philology Institute of the Academia Sinica, Shih Chang-ju and Kao Ch’ü-hsün, discovered a Shang royal horse and chariot pit in what was the palatial district of the flourishing site of the Shang capital of Yin some three thousand years ago. Starting from this important discovery, the step-by-step efforts of scholars at reconstructing the remnants have finally begun to reveal and recreate the brilliant glory of these Shang Dynasty horses and chariots.

The question is now, “How did modern archaeologists piece together these horse and chariot fixtures from what appear to be scattered and incomplete pieces of a puzzle, reconstructing what they actually looked like back in the Shang Dynasty?” Why not find out now in this special exhibition of horse and chariot fixtures from the archaeological collection of the country’s most prestigious research organization the Academia Sinica.In April of 1936, two young archaeologists from the History and Philology Institute of Academia Sinica, Shih Chang-ju and Kao Ch'ü-hsün, discovered a Shang royal horse-and-chariot pit in the palatial district in the village of Hsiao-t'un (near An-yang city, Honan province), which had been the most flourishing site of the Shang capital of Yin some three thousand years earlier. Starting from this important discovery, step-by-step efforts of scholars at reconstructing the bits and pieces have finally begun to reveal and recreate the brilliant glory of these Shang dynasty horses and chariots.